Monday, 21 April 2014

Happy Easter + A 3 Weeks In Florida Catch Up

So I put this egg in the basket?

I'll put it right here, now I gotta go find some more.
Frostina absolutely LOVED hunting for Easter Eggs. She walks around the house saying "egg, egg" whenever she spots an empty plastic egg lying around somewhere. I got her a book where Peppa Pig hunts for eggs and she loves to read it and spot the eggs. I have a feeling we will be talking about the eggs for months to come.

I should confess though that we did not do an egg hunt today. Mother of the Year that I am, I skipped the hunt today because we have done 3 this season and I was just too tired to do another one today. She did one in London before we moved, she did this one here in Florida with a local Meet Up group I have joined, and she did one at the Mommy and Me class I took her to on Friday. So she has gotten her fill of plastic eggs and candy.

There is so much going on with our move and our house hunting and I have run out of energy. These past three weeks have been a blur. We have moved into our temporary apartment. I was able to get Frostina into a local pediatrician who came recommended by a friend. It turns out we were only behind by 2 immunisations which is pretty good they tell me. My doctor back in London did her best to keep us up on the UK and US schedules and it paid off.

I have found and been seen by an Obstetrician, a Perinatologist, and have even had my first fight with my insurance company about which drugs they will and won't pay for. *The medicine in question being the blood thinners that the doctor wants me to take. This fight is still in progress. Sigh, I do miss good old England and it's national health service. This would never happen on the NHS.

We have been working with a realtor to try and find a house and I think our efforts have paid off. We just finished putting together our offer letter for a house we like. So now we wait and see. Fingers crossed people, I really want to be in a house before Baby Olea is born.

To say we have been busy is an understatement! So when it came to today I just had nothing left. I did make pancakes for Frostina which she loves and I did cook a ham for The Hubby which he said he loved (bless him). But I just couldn't manage to play Easter Bunny too.

I figured this is the last year I will be able to get away with it since by next year she will know all about Easter and the Easter Bunny. Plus I have these photos and I can always tell her they were taken on Easter Sunday, right?

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

A Diagnosis, After All This Time

When my son died and was born they performed an autopsy. When the report came back the results were somewhat inconclusive, you can read about all that here if you want. It's painful for me to click back there and read just how broken I was back then, but I digress.

Anyway, the report basically said that the placenta failed. It was attacked by an infection or virus of unknown origin. My son was tested and I was tested and no infection or virus was ever found. The conclusion at the time was that it was a fluke and not something that could happen again.

I entered my pregnancy with Frostina with LOTS of fear and trepidation. I was worried that something would go wrong again, because that was all I knew. But I didn't worry that the exact same thing could happen, because I had been told specifically that it wouldn't.

So you will imagine my surprise when the exact same thing did happen, only this time the outcome wasn't fatal. You can read all the details here if you like. In a nutshell, Frostina's placenta had degraded as well and her fluid level was very very low on delivery day. My doctor surmised that the "infection or virus" was in fact an auto immune response by my body to the pregnancy. In essence, my body attacks pregnancies like they are an unwanted foreign body.

It was quite a bitter pill to swallow, to know that my body killed my son and was trying to kill my daughter. But at least the mystery was finally solved. At least I knew it wasn't just a fluke. It was a real thing that I could watch out for and hopefully prevent in future pregnancies.

I relayed all of this "history" to my new and super awesome perinatologist who I met with last week. If you're scratching your head at this point, I apologize for not writing about all of this before but life has been super crazy around here. Anyway, when I mentioned the auto immune part to him he ordered a bunch of tests to see if we could identify what it was. Some pretty scary test names were rattled off including lupus which really freaked me out.

Yesterday I got a call from the doctor himself, so I knew it wasn't an "all clear" call because those are normally made by the nurses in the office. It turns out that I don't have any of the super scary auto immune disorders like lupus which is a huge relief. But I did have one test that came back positive. I won't put the name of it here because it has a super medical name and even when you try to google it you don't get a good definition. Plus I try to steer away from all the medical lingo here on the blog because I'm no doctor and I don't want people looking for real medical advice to be directed here.

The way the doctor explained it to me, this particular antibody that I have can cause increased clotting. My levels aren't super high so it hasn't caused any clotting for me, but the blood vessels that feed the placenta are very small. He explained that it's possible that these antibodies could have caused tiny clots in the placenta that would have impeded blood flow and may very well be the cause of the death of my son and the issues with Frostina's last week in-utero. Of course he says he can't be 100% sure, but he thinks it's more likely than not.

So starting today I have to take a small dose of heparin (which is a blood thinner) each day. It's an injection which I had really hoped I was all done with, but I will do whatever it takes to make sure Baby Olea arrives alive and healthy. As the doctor was telling me about the injections I could tell he was worried that I was afraid of doing them. I reminded him that I had done all of my own IVF injections and if I can do a progesterone in oil jab with a 1 inch needle into my thigh each day, I can certainly do a tiny one in my belly. He laughed and joked that I'm an expert which sadly I am.

So later on this morning I'm off to my new pharmacy to pick up my new set of needles and medication. That's what I get for bragging that I was finally all done injecting myself this pregnancy. I am happy that we have a plan to help keep Baby Olea safe, and I am very impressed with my perinatologist.

After all this time I have an official diagnosis for what caused my son to die. It feels strange. On the one hand it's nice to know finally what happened. But on the other hand it's sad to have confirmation that it's my fault. That for some reason, my body contains antibodies that attack pregnancies. But in the end, it's good to know. It's good to have a diagnosis.

It's too bad a diagnosis can't go back and re-write history.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Moving Is Chaotic

I know you're probably thinking, "Duh, how obvious," after reading the title of this post. But I really mean it, moving is chaos. Especially when you're moving countries. There are accounts to close and early termination fees to pay. There are so many things to do it's mind numbing. The only saving grace is that we are in a corporate apartment at the moment so at least I don't have to deal with the whole hooking up all new utilities thing.

Frostina got a horrible cold just before the move. I am now regretting taking her to "just one more" Gymboree class before we left because you know that's where she picked up this particular germ. So for the last two nights in the hotel before we flew to the US she was sleeping between us coughing and choking on her own phlegm.

Then there was the over 9 hour flight to Miami where her ears started bothering her on take-off. After the tears dried she did an amazing job on the plane, a sure sign that we have already taken her on way too many international flights. Thankfully her ears were fine for landing.

Once we landed we were off to our new apartment. Except that no one bothered to tell us that the leasing office closed at 6pm. So picture us rolling up at 9pm and having no access to the complex or the apartment. Seriously people, it sucked. After a few calls to a few people it was determined that we were going to have to find a hotel for the night. Did I mention it's spring break in South Florida? So of course it took a few hotels before we finally found one with a room. It was a total nightmare.

Anyway, that drama over, we are now in our apartment (I almost typed flat here, I think it will take some time to eliminate all the British lingo from my vocabulary). It's nice and safe and clean an Frostina seems to like it now. The first day she paced around crying which was heartbreaking. She is such a trooper but this was just too much for her.

My solution? A trip to Super Target (oh how I have missed that place) for a few new toys and she seems to be doing much better. She is very clingy and cuddly at the moment which is nice but can be a challenge when you're trying to cook dinner and you have a toddler attached to your leg.

Yesterday I had an appointment with my new OB and I am very happy with her. I meet the Perinatologist next week and I am feeling like my care for this pregnancy is on track. Now I have to hope I like the hospital after I set up the tour, because I'm pretty much stuck giving birth there now. I did my research though and based on the recommendation of a local doctor (who is a friend of a friend) I chose this hospital. Then I worked backwards and found my doctor. So based on hospital reputation I should like it,,,, right?

This weekend we start our house hunt. I found a babysitting agency so we don't have to drag Frostina along. I talked to the sitter on the phone and she is coming by in a few days to meet us. My first impression is that she seems good, so hopefully Frostina will agree when she meets her. I am nervous about leaving her in a new place with a new person so soon, but I think dragging her along looking at houses would be much worse.

There is so much more but I fear this post is long enough already. I will update you lovely readers on all the chaos sometime soon.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

A Fresh Start

In preparation for our big move back to the USA we have been de-cluttering. Going through drawers and dark cupboards throwing away all the things we saved thinking we would want someday. I am amazed at how much clutter a family of 3 can manage to collect.

It can be very freeing to get rid of old stuff. I think we tend to collect it because it feels comfortable and sometimes a clean sweep is just what we need. I love the look of a newly cleaned shelf (with lots of space to buy new stuff to shove there someday). It somehow feels like a fresh start.

All was going well until I stumbled across my trusty Bag O Meds. If you've even done any kind of fertility treatment you will be familiar with this, in fact you may have one of your own. Its the bag you put all your various medications and needles in when you're in the middle of treatment.

I don't consider myself a superstitious person, but getting rid of this bag before I have another healthy baby in the house is hard for me. It almost feels arrogant to assume that just because I'm 22 weeks pregnant that all will be well and I will never need to inject myself with another vial of progesterone in oil again. Obviously that is the dream, but I know all too well that pregnancy can go wrong at any time.

So what to do with the bag and it's contents? US customs and immigration rules are very strict these days. You can't even bring food into the country in your shipment due to new bio-terrorism laws. I'm sure they would make exceptions for medicine, but do I really want to take a chance that our whole shipment will be held up in customs just for a superstition? I could carry it on the plane with me as I have done so many times before when I was in treatment, but with all the other luggage we will have it seems impractical.

When I asked The Hubby for advice he shrugged and said to dump it. He seemed confused at my hesitation. I then reminded him that I didn't get rid of the lupron left over from Frostina's IVF cycle until after she was home from the hospital. In fact, when I dug Bag O Meds out from the garage to stuff it full of medication for the cycle we just did with Baby Olea it still had progesterone and del estrogen bottles in it, expired of course.

So getting rid of it all; the needles, and the alcohol swabs, and the cotton balls, and the bandaids, and the vials of medication, and the injection schedule I got from the clinic; getting rid of it all before Baby Olea is with us is a tough one for me. Because I would rather hold onto it (just in case she says in a whisper).

But holding onto this particular bag in this particular set of circumstances just isn't practical. So I took a deep breath, grabbed a trash bag, and got to work emptying the bag. It was easy and it was hard.

I'd like to say that when it was done I felt more free. That I was happy to have a clean sweep and a fresh start. In reality I have anxiety about it. It's silly I know. If the retention of specific objects could keep babies alive then none of would ever find ourselves in the Baby Loss Mom's Club in the first place. But I found comfort in the ritual.

So now I've just got to move on and try to enjoy my fresh start.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Coming Up For Air

I am deep in moving hell but I wanted to come up for air to give a quick update on what's going on. There are immigration forms to fill out, insurance forms to fill out, customs forms to fill out. I think you get the idea here. Lots and lots of forms. Plus there's the whole, "Nothing electrical will work back in the US so you have to sell it all or give it away before you move," thing. Will someone please buy my tumble dryer???

In the midst of all this, I had my anomaly scan yesterday. I hardly had time to be worried about it with everything else going on. Thankfully, all is well with Baby Olea. There she was, moving and kicking around while the doctor tried to capture all the important data via ultrasound. She was of course shy about showing her face so we didn't get great photos, but really all that matters is that she is ok.

We took Frostina with us and she kept wanting to be up on the table with Mommy. The Hubby tried bribing her with food which worked for a while but she got bored staring at her little sister on the TV screen. I forgot that these scans take longer and I think she did a pretty good job overall.

The big move happens next week. By next Friday we will be in Florida in our temporary apartment. It's surreal to think about. I still haven't had time to properly process this. I'm too busy trying to find a new OB and pediatrician for Frostina. This is tricky since we don't really know where we will be living permanently. But I've got to find someone for both of us pretty quickly.

A few friends have offered to throw leaving parties for us. Or, "Leaving Do," as they call them here in England. I'm sure that's when it will hit me that we are actually leaving.

Wow, we are actually leaving.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

My "Moving Wife"

Moving is never fun, that's for sure. Moving countries is even more difficult. The nice thing about a corporate move is that there is a whole team dedicated to helping it run smoothly. Once the company flips the switch a hoard of people come out of the woodwork. We have a single point of contact who is at the center of this massive operation. She is like having a wife who specializes in moving. *Side note- I think I would like a wife all the time, it's pretty great.

My "Moving Wife" has really gotten the ball rolling. She has already arranged for the movers and for the relocation agent in Florida. She has contacted and arranged for our temporary housing which is a furnished corporate apartment. She has gotten in touch with the mortgage company we will be working with. She has even arranged for us to have help with disconnecting all our utilities and organizing the final move out cleaning.

My phone has been ringing with all these people contacting me. Dates have been set up and appointments have been made. We now have our move out date (the end of March... Yikes!) and a move in date (well to our temporary house anyway). Our relocation agent has been emailing us properties in the towns we think we want to move to. We have had a call with our mortgage company and are working on getting pre-approved.

All this has been done by my "Moving Wife" in the past 5 days. Amazing!!

Now if only she would come and clear out the clutter that overflows in our house. Then she would be perfect. 

Thursday, 27 February 2014

No Shoveling Snow For Me

I was sure I had cursed myself in my last post when I said I didn't want to live anywhere I had to shovel snow. Thankfully I was wrong. I was very, very wrong.

Where will our new home be?


That's right. The Hubby's new office will be in Ft. Lauderdale so we will be looking to move somewhere nearby. So no snow for us! Though we will have to deal with humidity and frizzy hair which is never nice.

It's a huge change for this California native who has just spent almost 10 years in London. After all this time in England I have almost forgotten what a warm summer feels like. So I'm sure the first summer of humidity and bugs (yuck) will be a rude awakening. On the bright side, (see what I did there?) we won't have to take our vitamin D supplements anymore.

So now I'm scouring the good schools website to try and figure out where we should live. I haven't even begun to think about doctors and hospitals yet, but that's next on the list.

We don't have a time line just yet but things will happen quickly so it looks like I'm in for a wild ride.

Anyone familiar with the Ft. Lauderdale area? Any advice on schools and neighbourhoods and doctors and hospitals would be greatly appreciated. 

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Life Is Never Boring

Just when you get all settled and comfortable, BANG, something else happens. At least that's how things seem to go for me.

The hubby and I have been living in London for quite a long time now. We have done the travelling in Europe thing and have very much enjoyed the opportunity to live in a different country and appreciate a different culture and way of life. London is very much our home. We have built a life here, had two children here, and have another one on the way.

We have been talking for the past 6 months or so about being ready to move back to the USA. Since having Frostina, and the death of The Hubby's Dad, we are really feeling the pull back home. Our parents aren't getting any younger and we want Frostina to grow up being at least a bit closer to her family. The Hubby had a conversation with his HR department sharing our wish to go home a while back and left it at that.

We were then asked if we would agree to stay here at least one more year due to staffing issues and them not having a back up for him. We said yes which I figured worked out well with Baby Olea on the way. So I got pregnant and have been back with my doctor who I respect and trust. All was on schedule to have Baby Olea here in London and then we would plan to move back sometime in 2015.


That's what you get when you make plans.

A few weeks ago The Hubby started hearing rumours that things were happening in the US division of his company. Rumours that included the fact that phone calls had been made asking about our availability to move sooner. Then he got a call asking very specifically about my pregnancy and when my due date was. We were also asked if there was a time line in which we would not be able to move. Our reply was that obviously there would be a few months immediately before my due date and afterwards when we would need to stay put here. Basically we told them that we could move now, or sometime in the Fall.

The Hubby is at a meeting this week for the whole company. I have now received two phone calls from him telling me that things are indeed going on with the US division and that it's looking very likely that he will be getting some kind of job offer. His company moves quickly once they make decisions like this so I'm expecting we will know more by the end of the week. But it looks like we will be making a move back to the USA.

Where exactly in the US is a different question. America is a pretty large country and at the moment we have no clue where the openings will be. Nor do we know if it would be a lateral move or a promotion. So needless to say I'm freaking out.

Yes, I am ready to be back on American soil. But there are definitely parts of the US that I would rather not live. I fear listing any of them here because then I know I will be sealing my fate and end up moving there. So I'll just say that I would prefer to be in a part of the country that is filled with open-minded people who have not allowed doctrine and scare mongering to rule their lives and decisions.

I would also prefer to live somewhere with decent weather. This California girl has been spoiled for most of her life as far as weather goes and the idea of shovelling snow in minus 10 wind chill doesn't really appeal. **There I go, cursing myself to a life somewhere in America where it snows. Sadly, the chances of us returning to California are slim so I'm certainly not getting my hopes up about that.

I'm left here wondering where life will take us next. It's stressful and sort of exciting, but sort of not because I hate having decisions made for me. Unless where they want us to move is absolutely awful, saying no may or may not be an option.

I am freaking out!

I can truthfully say that my life is never boring.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Frostina At 20 Months

Frostina is 20 months old now and is growing leaps and bounds. Her vocabulary is amazing, it seems she learns a new word every day.

She is also growing more independent which is a good thing,,,, and a not so good thing. I am also noticing that the terrible two's are a-coming. Or maybe they are already here.

Here are some tidbits about what life with Frostina is like these days.

She likes to bring me things when I'm sitting on the toilet. She doesn't seem to grasp the concept that I don't really want them.

She randomly says "fuck." The first time she said it was in context (after bumping her head). Now she just spouts it off from time to time. She's even saying it for the babysitter. I swear I heard her say it at Gymboree today. Makes me so proud.

Speaking of Gymboree. Frostina has decided that she no longer needs to do what the rest of class is doing. She would much rather go rogue and do whatever she feels like. She's even missing bubble time which used to be her favourite. When it's time to leave she throws a huge tantrum,,,, nice.

She is still addicted to her binky. I have considered trying to limit binky time but then she started teething again (canines) so I'm leaving it for now.

She cried last week when the babysitter left but doesn't seem to cry when I leave.

She likes to bring me bits of fluff and crumbs off the the floor and say, "yuck." Though if the treasures she finds happen to be food then she eats them and says, "num num." Depending on how old the food is (don't judge me on my lack of vacuuming) it makes me say, "yuck."

She loves to feed herself which is super messy. She is proud of the fact that she can eat yogurt all by herself, holding the container and everything. She likes to take huge spoonfuls which overflow out of her mouth making a yogurt goatee. It's a very pretty sight.

She likes to crawl up on me while I'm sitting on the couch. Sometimes it's because she wants a cuddle, other times it's just a ploy to grab my phone off the table beside me. I'm just waiting for her to dial 999 (that's the UK equivalent of 911) when I'm not looking and then try to explain to the police that it's not a real emergency, just a toddler playing with the phone.

She alternates between giving her baby cuddles and throwing her baby on the floor. Note to self: do not let Frostina hold Baby Olea until she grows out of this.

We have explained that Mommy has a baby in her tummy. Sometimes she will point to my belly button and say, "baby." I can't figure out if she really understands or if she thinks that the word for belly button is baby.

She calls every small child, "baby." If she sees herself in a mirror or a photo of herself she also says, "baby." It's pretty funny when she calls children older than she is babies.

She is obsessed with balls, cars, birds, and dogs and will shout loudly the appropriate word whenever she sees one.

I think she has figured out that I am too tired to chase her around most of the time. Her response is to run around even more whenever I'm trying to get her to eat, sleep, change nappy, put shoes on, put coat on, etc. She finds this chasing game quite hilarious.

There are often tantrums during transitions. Even if she is hungry, she will protest going into her high chair. We also have issues with getting into the buggy (stroller) even though she loves to go outside.

I am obviously saying, "sit down" and "stop" too often because she is now saying both of those things to me. This morning when I was trying to get her dressed she said, "stop Mama." I've also caught her telling Pooh Bear to, "sit down" when she was trying to put him into the dolly's buggy.

She loves cuddles and kisses.

She likes to wear her mittens in the house, but when we're outside in the cold she refuses to keep them on.

She is adorable and amazing and exhausting all at the same time. I love her with all my heart.

Monday, 17 February 2014

17 Weeks And In Denial

I had my 16 week check up last week and all is well with little Baby Olea. My doctor has a small portable ultrasound machine so even on non-scan appointments I get to see her. It's always nice to have a peek to see how she is doing. Especially since I have an anterior placenta this time around so I hardly ever feel her moving around.

Does anyone have experience with anterior placentas? Will I feel less movement the entire pregnancy? Or just in the beginning?

On the way home from the appointment I realised just how much I am still in denial about being pregnant. When I was pregnant with Frostina I could barely sleep the night before any doctors appointment because I was absolutely sure I was going to be told bad news. I would stress for days before each scan.

This time, not so much.

Denial is a funny thing I guess.

It's easy to be in denial at this point. I'm in the just showing/could be getting fatter phase of pregnancy. I'm still wearing lots of my pre-pregnancy baggy sweaters so most days if you didn't know you would be afraid to guess. It's only on days when I'm wearing my maternity tops that it's more obvious.

Not really being able to feel Olea yet contributes as well. As does the fact that I have Frostina to chase around and keep my mind occupied.

I do have a few reminders that snap me out of my denial. The no-booze thing for one, and then there's the list of foods I can't eat. At least I'm remembering about them.

Oh, and I'm obsessing about baby names. I'm hoping that once we decide on her name that this baby will feel more real.

Perhaps this denial is a defense mechanism. I was so incredibly fearful during my pregnancy with Frostina that maybe my brain can't do it again. So instead it pretends to "forget" I'm pregnant so that I won't be so terrified this time. Either that or I'm just too tired chasing Frostina around to obsess like I did last time.

It's quite a strange phenomenon though. Though if experience serves me well, I'm sure it's one that will pass soon and the panic and fear will set in. So maybe I need to enjoy it while it lasts.